First band on the mainstage were Highway To Hell winners, TWISTER. The Durham band had been popular winners and the early start saw many seeking out breakfast and a brew to join the band in the main arena.
The set-up had changed slightly again from the previous day with the small barrier in front of the stage moved tight against it and the seated VIP area remaining in front of the main crowd barrier. The small runway still jutting out into the seated area but allowing those at the main barrier and view of the centre of the stage at least for now.
Twister let rip – a hurricane launching themselves through the songs. A blistering pace and a band I’m liking more and more. Gripping melodies and some cracking chorus’s have the early watchers singing along.
Before things got too chaotic to move from my spot near the main stage, I scooted over to stage 2 to catch some of KIKAMORA’s set. The band have been on my playlist for sometime now and this was the first time I’d seen them live and wow! Harder and heavier than they come across on recordings. A real hardcore blues rock band with an aggression about the riffs and a thunderous bass. Visually they came across so confident and frontman Wilf Kite has such an amazing blues tone to his voice it captivates you immediately.
I was so sorry I couldn’t stay to catch more but the very lovely BETH BLADE AND THE BEAUTIFUL DISASTERS had already started on the main stage. You can guarantee a cracking performance from Beth and the guys and tonight was no exception. Hard, heavy, edgy, rock n roll. Beth looked very comfortable and relaxed during the whole set and the crowd she drew was impressive.
It was impossible to get to the front to see what the rest of the band were up to but Beth stalked the runway as she played at one point dropping to her knees and lying on the stage. Cheers went up – this was sexy and sassy and she never missed a note– a good band.
Hot footing it across to stage two, I so wanted to catch WHITE RAVEN DOWN, I love the sound these guys have live so was hoping that it would come across to the gathered punters in the smaller room. It was packed! Shoving my way in through the door to get to the pit as this was one on this smaller stage, the band had already started and were tearing up the riffs and flooding the place with heavy sounding melodies and vast quantities of energy.
Will Taylor sounded more gravelly than usual obviously struggling with something but nevertheless delivered. I literally caught one song then milled in the doorway briefly to hear a bit more but had to drag myself away to the main stage ready for THOSE DAMN CROWS
I had to battle to get anywhere close to the runway unable to get towards the front due to the number of people, the VIP area had gone from being mainly seated with the more keen pressing up against the stage to having rows of VIPs stood in the aisles and at the back of the seated area now obscuring the view of those behind the public barrier even more. The area was really congested with some choosing to remain seated or having to remain seated.
How do you put over the energy, professionalism, enthusiasm and sheer talent of this band? I’m almost lost for words, almost but not quite! So many positives, a band who know how to rock from Ronnie Huxford smashing ten barrels of shit out of the drums to Lloyd Wood providing a booming bassline, Shiner Thomas and David Winchurch ripping the riffs which shake the light rigs but you have to say that Shane Greenhall is one of the best front men around. His vocals are just killer, the rapport he has with the crowd – speaking of the crowd it was rammed – where did everyone come from, hardly enough room for folks to lift their fists and punch the air in time to the music.
Back to Shane – he could be commanding Wembley, the Albert Hall, Twickenham, Download, Ramblin Man – the list of big venues is endless but right here and now he was commanding Great Yarmouth. ‘Blink Of An Eye’ has everyone singing along, actually everyone seems to be singing along to everything! The Bridgend boys have nailed it. Hearing a couple of new songs, with a new album out in February and a tour recently announced I think 2020 is going to be huge for The Crows based on this performance too. Well done guys!
Having to remain rooted to the spot again in order to get some shots of the rest of those playing the main stage, catching their full set left me on a high and one of my favourite bands of all time, one that I have followed since I was in nappies (ahem…well not quite) was next up.
PRAYING MANTISare legends, the twin guitar attack, the power pipes of John Jaycee and the timelessness of the songs drew a large crowd. ‘Captured City’, ‘Praying Mantis’, ‘Believable’ ensured that the first songs of the set hooked everyone in with their melodies and sing along chorus’s. I really enjoyed their set.
I love seeing the band live, they’ve been doing this so long but still look like they are enjoying every minute of it. Thunderous riotous riffs and astonishing vocals make this band stand out even in this day and age.
Like most people, the songs of Thin Lizzy are sublime. No one can sing them like Phil but when one of the best loved Lizzy alumni are scheduled to play and you know they are good, the room remained rammed to the rafters. BRIAN DOWNEY’S ALIVE AND DANGEROUS blew the roof off.
The mood in the room was electric, rock fans love the classic songs and the band are certainly more than able to produce the goods opening with ‘Jailbreak’, the presence of Brian Downey behind the kit just adds to everything and makes it all somehow more genuine rather than tribute.
‘Emerald’ followed by ‘Southbound’ had faces smiling and hands in the air, people swaying and singing along to each song. ‘Rosalie’, ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, the classics kept coming. I stood in the one spot for the entire set and it seemed to be over in a matter of minutes! Finishing with ‘Black Rose’, I loved every minute of their set.
I managed to get closer to the stage as WAYWARD SONS much anticipated set began. Toby Jepson had been awarded the “HRH Legend’ award a couple of days previous and the support in the main arena for him and the band was there to be seen.
Beginning with a new song ‘Any Other Way’ from their recently released new album, ‘The Truth Ain’t What it Used To Be’. Wayward Sons always sound loud. The duel guitars of Sam Wood and Jepson himself give a driven sound, the keyboards added by Dave Kemp and the funky bass of Nic Wastell power through the stacks and Phil Martini smashes hell out of the skins to provide the tempo.
I have seen this band a lot and for a reason, they are superb live. The set contained many songs from the first album including ‘Don’t Wanna Go’, ‘Alive’, ‘Be Still’ just a delight for the many bouncing Sons fans, and with another new song ‘Little White Lies’ sliding in seamlessly. We had been absolutely spoiled by the quality of the bands today and ending with ‘Until The End’ was a perfect way to keep the quality running for Gun.
How would GUN fair – amazing that’s how. The number in the room had not subsided and I was again confined to my spot, unable to shift even an inch or two. Did I mind – not at all, watching Tommy on guitar and Andy on bass directly in front of me as they opened with ‘She Knows’ was no big chore.
Dante and Jools popping over to the left fist bumping fans working the stage and the crowd as they flooded our ears with. ‘Here’s Where I Am’, ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’, ‘Take Me Down’, the majesty of the melodies and Dante’s vocal delivery made the songs shine.
Including in their set, ‘Favourite Pleasures’, ‘Inside Out’ and ending with ‘Shame on You’, I was sure I had just witnessed the band of the weekend for me. That opinion remains. I cannot wait for their December triple headline tour with Dan Reed Network and FM. Just wondering how much of that tour I can take in!
Headliners BUCKCHERRY seemed to have also brought a legion of fans with them and despite the crowd thinning slightly towards the back of the main arena, the majority were not moving. I could see bugger all other than a minute or two, but you could feel the energy and the excitement of having the band on stage. The volume seemed to have been turned up even louder as Josh began ‘Head Like A Hole’. He seemed wired for the night and straight away began playing to the crowd.
Not sure if there was a technical glitch or two but every now and then his vocal dropped off. The crowd shoved in tighter, no way everyone in the VIP enclosure should have officially been there and I tried to push back a little only to find myself pushed back through the crowd unable to see anything else. I stood and listened to ‘Porno Star’ and ‘Ridin’ and they did sound great but the loud talking from those around me and the lack of oxygen in the room made me head out to the second stage to catch GIN ANNIE.
The Midlands-based rockers have grabbed so much attention over the last 12 months or so with their blend of melodic hard rock. A guitar driven rock and roll band, blasting basslines and some epic boom from the kit. David Foster has great stage presence and a voice to match.
The songs are full of melody, well written and catchy as hell. It looked very much like many revellers had felt the same as I had and followed suit leaving Buckcherry to it and joining the party on stage 2. So many new fans made in a very short space of time, you could not help but be impressed by Gin Annie and I hope they continue to make huge progress over the next 12 months.
So that was it, day done and probably the strongest day of the 3 for me. I left happy, Gun still ringing in my ears.
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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